Goose opened a set of weekend shows, their fourth and fifth in as many nights, at Peter Shapiro’s state-of-the-art Brooklyn Bowl in Nashville, TN on Friday. With a fresh notch in their proverbial belt from Goosemas VIII, and coming off tour-opening heaters at D.C.’s 9:30 Club and The Fillmore in Charlotte, NC, there was absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Goose would raise the bar even higher still and throw down (yet another) pair of best ever shows to mark the band’s first appearance in Music City.

With long flowing locks (Ben “Spuds” Atkind‘s bald beauty notably excepted) and facial hair growing visibly in real-time, Goose looks very much like a band in mid-tour form. And with the kind of full-team mind-meld that can only be the result of sharing cramped living quarters with your best friends, it doesn’t just look like they’re sleeping on their tour bus, it sounds like it, too.

Team Goose is positively dialed in. It starts with Mr. and Ms. Everything Marta Goedde and Jon “Coach” Lombardi, and continues with tour manager Sam King. It transmits across the airwaves just as it does en vivo with the front-of-house crew from Goedde Sound & Light and rising stream/merch star Naveed Quarterman. And it plays out note by glorious note with the five men on stage who have more fun than anyone perhaps with the exception of the rabid fans who give it all back with soul-cleansing affirmation.

“Atlas Dogs” would make its tour debut as Goose made its Nashville debut, the anxious crowd simultaneously dancing in the darkness and marching toward the light behind Rick Mitarotonda’s early peaks and emotional lyrics. Speaking of mind-meld, Goose’s segue game by way of improvisation has been next level, evidenced early on by the emotional ballad that flawlessly meandered its way back and forth between the bouncier island vibes of “Butter Rum” and teases of “When The Saints Go Marching In”.

Goose – “Atlas Dogs” – 3/4/22

As Peter Anspach took turns in the spotlight on all of his tropically colored instruments—an orange Vintage Vibe piano and a pink Fender Stratocaster—Spuds and bassist Trevor Weekz found a pocket for Richk’s guitar solos that set the room ablaze. “Butter Rum” has become a serious jam vehicle these last few months and Peter’s work on the B3 organ led his mates into a familiar off-script jam that explored Medeski, Martin, & Wood’s “Bubblehouse” before finding space vaguely reminiscent of the Pittsburgh jam on 2/12/22.

With best-in-class harmonies and tear-jerking lyrics, a joyride on the emotional spectrum continued with an upbeat arrangement of “It Burns Within”. As I write these words on the day of my 17th wedding anniversary, it’s positively worth noting that if we had it to do all over again, IBW would be our wedding song, especially as the love my wife and I share for Goose’s music has strengthened the love that burns within us. A joy shared is a joy doubled and just as that feeling has sparked the flames of our union, it is also the phenomenon that bolsters the Goose community on a daily basis.

Peter displayed his affinity for animals with a relatively straightforward telling of “The Whales” before ultimately ceding to “Switchin’”, the Wes Montgomery instrumental that Goose stretched out behind scorching guitar solos from both Peter and Rick. Peter then got the crowd started with a measured overhead clap before the band fell in line with the tour’s first repeat as “Pancakes” was tapped to close the first set.

Even in its relative infancy in Goose’s catalog (FTP 1/27/22), Goose has reliably stretched every one of its five readings of the Great Blue original well past the 20-minute mark (with the exception of one that weighed in at a dense 17:06). Exploring new sonic territory that remained barely if at all tethered to its original structure, the latest found everything from psychedelia to shredsville before landing back in the familiar chords of the short stack from which it was born. Is every “Pancakes” the best one ever? So far, probably so, but that’s beside the point. More importantly, has every one been proof positive of Goose’s ability to paint an improvised masterpiece in real-time? A resounding yes.

As I pondered the setbreak, taking this one in from the comfort of home, I was reminded that my grandpa used to avoid the ballpark to watch the New York Mets at home, never wavering from his premise that the best seat in the house was in front of his TV. Goose’s production team made me consider this memory as they drove his point home all stream long.

With camera angles that pan from the hyper-engaged crowd to Andrew Goedde’s dramatic light work, we also get treated to intimate looks at Rick’s eyes-closed runs up and down the neck of his guitar, Trevor’s stone-cold cool in the pocket, Ben’s measured ferocity on the kit, to say nothing of Peter’s infectious grins and the sidelong glances that pass between them all night. But all that considered, perhaps no one shines brighter on camera than auxiliary percussionist Jeffrey Arevalo, the multi-talented instrumentalist that joined the band in summer 2020. There is nothing like the steady Jeff-cam to appreciate the value of his contributions as he tickles his wind chimes, adds a three-way harmony, or dramatically flourishes a moment with a touch of his gong. To see his smile while he plays is to realize how much he brings to this band, both in personality and musicianship.

The second set returned with Dripfield’s lead single “Borne”, another evolutionary telling in the song’s rapidly evolving but also brief history. A 24-minute “Rockdale” would follow, a Vasudo song first performed by Goose on 10/30/20 and fast gaining traction as possibly the heaviest hitter in a catalog full of them. The play-by-play includes double-drumming, three-way harmonies, thumping bass, a funky turn on Peter’s clavinet, and mind-blowing guitar peaks as rainbow spotlights instigated the crowd’s ballistic energy.

“Seekers On The Ridge Pt. 1 & Pt. 2” soared as per usual before the Great Blue classic “Yeti” arrived in all its bass-slapping glory, once again setting the dance party into high gear. Though fans in the room likely had no clue, fans at home were treated to a trailing camera view of venue owner Peter Shapiro leading Coach to the bowling lanes just offstage as Coach would grab a ball and roll a perfect strike in real-time. It was an epic moment from an epic dude, a once-in-a-lifetime feat from the Founding Father of the band that provides once-in-a-lifetime memories with consistent regularity.

More evidence of Goose’s fun quotient followed shortly as the band slowed down mid-“Yeti” to allow Tweekz to pour himself a Mountain Dew and regale the crowd with a poetry reading. But it wasn’t Robert Frost or Edgar Allen Poe this time around, rather it was the words of Southern poet Zac Alexander Brown’s “Chicken Fried” before the band would bring the groove back in earnest. Strikes and poetry notwithstanding, “Yeti” is vintage Goose and this version reminded us that sooner or later, everything old is new again. Positively glorious.

Never once letting up, Goose brought the set to a close with a wildly enthusiastic and off-script telling of “Magic Carpet Ride”, the band once again pushing itself and stretching the song well beyond its limits as they let the sound take them away and brought Steppenwolf’s lyrics emphatically to life.

Peter let the crowd know about Coach’s strike before a resounding “Turned Clouds” encore put the finishing touches on what was most definitely the best show since the last show until the next show. I wasn’t even at this one and had no plan to provide coverage but Goose’s artistry pulled me in and inspired me to bring you these words, gloriously free of the attendance bias that typically stains my work. This is a special band playing a special room in a special city during a special time in their lives. Miss the Music City finale at your peril. Tonight’s stream is available for purchase here.

Scroll down to check out a gallery of images from Goose at Brooklyn Bowl Nashville on 3/4—as well as the following night, 3/5—courtesy of photographer Keith Griner.

Setlist: Goose | Brooklyn Bowl Nashville | Nashville, TN | 3/4/22

Set One: Atlas Dogs {1} > Butter Rum {2} It Burns Within, The Whales > Switchin’ (Wes Montgomery), Pancakes

Set Two: Borne > Rockdale, Seekers On The Ridge Pt 1 & Pt 2, Yeti {3} > Magic Carpet Ride (Steppenwolf)

Encore: Turned Clouds

Coach’s Notes:

{1} “When The Saints Go Marching In” tease

{2} “Bubblehouse” by Medeski, Martin, & Wood teases

{3} During the song the band went into a drone jam & Tweekz read poetry called “Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band. Also during the jam JonL bowled a strike on the stream

Next Show: 3.5.22 • Nashville, TN • Brooklyn Bowl